SIDNEY — Tippecanoe walked out of the locker room after halftime and into an ambush.
Wapakoneta regrouped at the intermission and unloaded in the second half, outscoring Tippecanoe 21-0 en route to a 28-7 victory in their Division III, Region 10 semifinal game at Sidney Memorial Stadium on Friday.
Wapakoneta (12-0) will make its first appearance in the regional finals at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it takes on Trotwood-Madison (11-1) at a site to be determined. Trotwood-Madison beat Bellbrook 41-6 on Friday.
The Redskins never trailed the Red Devils on Friday and started the game just about perfectly, opening with a 15-play, 67-yard drive that took 8:17 and culminated in an 11-yard touchdown run by Adam Henderson.
For the rest of the half, however, the Wapak offense never had the same rhythm as penalties helped Tipp’s defense hold the Redskins at bay. One unsuccessful drive even allowed Tippecanoe’s offense to start on the Wapak 38 in the second quarter. That allowed the Red Devils to drive and score on Austin Clack’s 1-yard touchdown run to tie the score at 7-7 right before halftime.
“We had to really look deep,” Wapakoneta coach Travis Moyer said. “We just didn’t play well after that first drive, offensively. I thought we did a good job refocusing and realizing what was at stake.”
In the second half, Wapakoneta took charge. The defense forced a fumble, scored on an interception and allowed just 108 yards while the offense tallied 208 total yards and scored twice.
After forcing a three-and-out to start the half, Wapakoneta drove 70 yards on 10 plays to take a 14-7 lead on Cameron Lauck’s 19-yard touchdown run at 5:53 in the third.
Less than four minutes later, Lauck found the end zone again, this time from the other side of the ball.
Tippecanoe quarterback Zack Blair threw a short pass to Jacob Ambos, but the ball was tipped and grabbed by Lauck, who raced 20 yards to the end zone for a 21-7 lead at the 2:12 mark of the third.
“That was huge, that was a momentum swing,” Moyer said. “Anytime you can get momentum like that in the playoffs is critical.”
Wapakoneta drove in the final nail when Keaton Metz raced 79 yards for a touchdown with 2:09 remaining in the game. Metz finished with 117 rushing yards while quarterback Kodi Morgan had 46 rushing and 42 passing.
Wapakoneta finished with 328 total yards (286 rushing, 42 passing) to Tippecanoe’s 171 (127 rush/44 pass).